BRUSSELS – Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium and Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxembourg, along with the Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne and Archieratic Vicar of Luxembourg Panagiotis Moschonas, were received by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg at his palace. The meeting took place at the invitation and initiative of the Grand Duke and lasted 60 minutes.
The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, after a warm welcome to his guests, expressed his interest in the life and presence of the Orthodox Church in general and there was a substantive, useful, and constructive discussion. Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium, as the head and sole representative of the Orthodox Church to the various authorities of Luxembourg, offered a presentation to the Head of State about the position of the Orthodox Church in the world, emphasizing that despite the differences in language, cultural elements, and ecclesiastical jurisdictions, the Orthodox Church is one and the same, a single ecclesiastical whole.
The Grand Duke also expressed strong interest in the Orthodox presence in his country. The Orthodox Church was officially recognized in Luxembourg by the 1998 Convention and the most recent Convention of January 2015. Metropolitan Athenagoras and Fr. Panagiotis Moschonas spoke to the Grand Duke about the life and organization of the Orthodox Church in Luxembourg, which includes the five Orthodox parishes and communities of the country.
During the audience other issues were discussed as well, such as the active participation of the Orthodox Church in the Council of Recognized Religions, the Council of Christian Churches in Luxembourg, as well as the harmonious and friendly relations of the Orthodox with the representatives and the faithful of the Roman Catholic Church and other religions that are present in the country.
The interlocutors also dealt with social issues, concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, and memories from visits to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Grand Duke expressed his deep satisfaction with the fact that the Orthodox presence in Luxembourg contributes to the multicultural character of the country. He also gladly accepted to attend, after the pandemic, an Orthodox Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of St. Nicholas located in the area of Weiler-la-Tour. Towards the end of the meeting, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium gifted books of Orthodox spirituality to the Grand Duke.